Applications are now open for Professional MasterChef 2014

If you’re an aspiring chef, don’t miss this opportunity.

Seven exceptional winners have already been crowned and now Professional MasterChef is back and looking for it’s next champion.

Long established as one of the top professional competitions in the country, this new series is once again looking for chefs with the ambition to reach the top of the industry and the talent to cut it in the world’s best kitchens.

Professional MasterChef will continue to push contestants to prove they have the ability and passion to cook at the highest level as hopefuls battle to impress the Professional MasterChef Judges, as well as some of the country’s greatest chefs, until only the very best remain.

For any chef who aspires to one day sit among the greats, this is the only competition to be part of.

Applications are open now 

Deadline for Applications: 4th April 2014

For more information contact: or call 0207 299 7717

Entry Requirements include:

  • You must be aged 20 or above on May 1st 2014
  • You must be resident of the UK (inc Northern Ireland and Channel Islands)
  • You need to have worked for at least 2 years as a chef in a professional kitchen and/or have the necessary NVQ qualifications (please refer to full rules here.)


Springboard’s Annual Fundraiser kicks-off in April

Following on from the huge success of Springboard’s ‘The First Big Event’ at Hotelympia in 2012, ‘The Next Big Event’ at Hotelympia 2014 promises to be even better – bringing you an exciting, unforgettable Brazilian Extravaganza filled with carnival celebrations, dancing, feasting and football!

Billed as the Official Charity Gala Dinner of Hotelympia, the event is a key fundraiser for the charity and promises to be a night to remember. Commenting, Louise Routh, Marketing, Communications and PR Director at Springboard, said: “The Next Big Event will be a night like no other, featuring stars of the football world, combined with spectacular entertainment, superb food and fine wines, whilst raising vital funds to support the work of The Springboard Charity.”

Tickets are available here, or by calling 0207 921 0420,

Date: 29th April 2014 – 6.30pm

Venue: Platinum Suite London ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL

Ticket Prices:

Premium table for 10 – £1950 + VAT

Standard table for 10 – £1550 + VAT

Individual ticket – £160 + VAT

Hotelympia 10k – will you take on the challenge?

Get set for the hospitality industry’s biggest sporting event of 2014 – the Hotelympia 10k run.

Whether you sprint, run or walk as part of a team or a single runner, the race is a great way to get out in the fresh air, have fun and above all, help to make a difference to lives. Last year’s event saw
over one thousand runners take part, and this year is set to be even bigger and better.

Held at Excel London kicking off the Hotelympia Show on April 27th 2014, the race will feature a new course, the legendary post-race brunch, and even a ‘Pasta Party’ where participants can get to know their fellow runners and stock-up on those all important carbs before taking on the 10k distance.

The event is a key fundraiser for The Springboard Charity, helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people to improve their prospects for economic well-being. Sponsors include Mondelez International, Bunzl, Hit Training, and Huhtamaki, and key partners include ExCeL London, Craft Guild of Chefs, Novotel Hotels and Fresh Montgomery and Leapfrog PR.

To register, please click here, where a suggested 8-week training programme is available.


Hospitality industry enjoys 8% growth in Jobs in 2013

Latest report from highlights continued signs of recovery in the sector

Hospitality jobs grew 8% year on year according to, the UK’s largest hospitality job board, with 120,956 jobs advertised on the site from hospitality employers in 2013. The last quarter alone saw a 16% increase compared with the previous year, with over 16,000 job adverts posted, as revealed in’s latest Hospitality Employment Index report.

Applications per job fell 5% over 2013 and as much as 26% compared with Q4 2012. While this could mean fewer people are applying for each role, it could also imply that candidates are becoming increasingly selective in their job hunt as they have more options available to them.

The upward trend has continued into 2014, with 12,000 jobs from hospitality employers currently advertised on, across a range of sectors, from foodservice and pubs to hotels and restaurants, highlighting the need for employers to continue attracting new talent into the industry.

Commenting on the findings, Ian Burke, Website Director of said:

“As we continue to move away from high levels of unemployment and towards greater levels of economic growth, it’s going to be an exciting time for the hospitality industry. While it may present challenges for hospitality employers, it also provides us all with a real opportunity to place hospitality firmly on the talent map, something that many businesses have already come some way in doing.

“It’s a chance to attract more talented people into the industry, and show them the opportunities available for long term career growth. If the industry misses this trick, it will be faced with an ever growing talent gap, and a skills shortage which could seriously hamper the industry’s growth prospects.”

Scotland drives hotel growth

Within the hotel sector, Scotland in particular is experiencing a huge growth, where the number of jobs increased by 20% compared with the past year. Applications per job were also high, suggesting a positive recruitment drive in the Scottish hotel industry.

Meanwhile the hotel sector as a whole is experiencing huge diversification through the continued growth in budget hotels, the rise of boutique brands and the new challenge of apart hotels. This has led to increasing pressures on the industry and therefore on individual companies’ talent strategies. Hotels are responding by building strong employer brand identities, with talent becoming central to their customer offering.

Foodservice falls in London

Scotland is also experiencing a growth in foodservice, with job adverts up 22% compared with last year. The South East, East and Wales have also experienced increased recruitment activity, while jobs advertised in London fell by as much as 14% – perhaps as big businesses move from the expensive cost of London office space towards cheaper regional hubs.

Entry level roles in foodservice, such as catering assistants and general assistants have increased compared with last year. Meanwhile there is a greater demand for specialist skills, with the role of ‘chef’ growing 2.6% – a move away from the ‘cook’ that traditionally might have made up the foodservice sector.

Commenting on the hospitality industry as a whole, Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association said:

“The hospitality and tourism industry has made great strides over the past few years, both in generating jobs and economic growth and in terms of making political capital.  The Olympic Legacy has elevated our sector in the minds of politicians, and industry leaders understand the benefits of working together, sharing a vision and progressing collectively, with a unified voice, towards our end goal.  The British Hospitality Association is extremely positive about the medium and longer term prospects for our industry and our resilience and buoyancy during the economic downturn bodes well for our continued success in more positive economic times.”

The quarterly Hospitality Employment Index report from is available to download free of charge here.


Marriott International seeks next generation of Chefs


Throughout National Apprentice Week (3-7 March 2014), Marriott International is holding a series of open days aimed at attracting young people into the culinary industry.  Hundreds of aspiring and ambitious chefs will be welcomed into more than 50 Marriott hotels up and down the UK, to meet current chefs and apprentices, participate in interactive cooking sessions and learn about the Marriott Culinary Apprentice Academy (MCAA), a programme designed to attract and train the next generation of chefs.

Two years ago, Marriott made a commitment to youth employment by launching the MCAA, a programme run in conjunction with Babcock, a training provider, and local colleges to train young people to a minimum NVQ level 2 in culinary.  The 18-month programme awards a guaranteed commis-chef position to every apprentice that completes the course.

“Youth unemployment continues to be a serious problem in the UK and we recognise the need to raise awareness of the exciting opportunities within the culinary industry and the rapid and diverse career progression it can offer,” said Bridgett Price, Chief Human Resources Officer for Marriott International in Europe.  “We hope that the open days will inspire young people to consider a culinary career and join the Marriott Culinary Apprentice Academy.”

To date, the MCAA has trained ten young chefs to commis-chef position and has a further twenty apprentices enrolled on the programme.  The academy has an extensive support structure and is designed to identify and nurture talent.  Two apprentices have excelled, earning demi-chef de parties positions with one being awarded three accolades; Bristol Apprentice of the Year, College Apprentice of the Year and runner-up in National Apprentice of the Year.  Marriott aims to enrol thirty more apprentices this year when applications open in April.

Marriott has heavily invested in the future of its restaurants and culinary teams.  Last September, Marriott Hotels, the signature brand of Marriott International, announced a partnership with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage to celebrate and support local and sustainable food and enrich the guest experience.  The new seasonal menus launched at Cardiff Marriott Hotel and Hollins Hall, a Marriott Hotel & Country Club in West Yorkshire, will soon be rolled out to cover more of Marriott Hotels’ 50 UK hotels.  The chefs at both hotels underwent rigorous training at the River Cottage Chefs’ School and obtained City & Guilds accredited certificates in a range of competencies, from procuring sustainable food through to butchery and nutrition.

For more information on careers at Marriott, click here.

Final Week for Entries & Nominations for the CIS Excellence Awards 2014

Just a wee reminder that entries and nominations for the 11th annual CIS Excellence Awards, in partnership with, will close on Monday 10th March 2014.

Aimed at ALL types of established and emerging businesses and individuals involved in Scotland’s catering, hospitality and tourism industries – from chefs, foodie pubs, colleges and caterers, to restaurants, hotels, software developers, food manufacturers, training companies, local authorities, tea rooms, guest houses etc, etc – there is a category to suit you or your business.

And this year, in recognition of 2014, we are introducing a 14th category: The Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Mazars and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Aiming to identify the individual within the Scottish hospitality, catering and tourism industry who has consistently risen above and beyond their usual remit over the last 12 months, the award is open to employees of all sizes and types of organisations within the sector.

Entries are free of charge, you may nominate as many organisations or individuals as you wish, and nominations are open until Monday 10th March 2014.

The 2014 categories are as follows:

The Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Mazars and the Royal Bank of Scotland

The Business Innovation Award, sponsored by 3663

The Independent Event-Caterer of the Year Award, co-sponsored PIDY & Freshwater

The Award for Excellence in Hospitality Education, Sponsored by Premier Foods

The Contract Catering Chef of the Year Award, co-sponsored by Tods Murray & ASA Recruitment

The Healthier Scotland Award, sponsored by the healthyliving award, in association with NHS Health Scotland

The Innovation in Training Award, sponsored by

The Pub-Restaurant Excellence Award, Sponsored by Heinz Foodservice

The Sustainable Business Award, sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland

The Restaurant Newcomer of the Year Award, sponsored by Sodexo

The Independent Hotel of the Year Award, sponsored by Gram

The Restaurant of the Year Award, sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions

The Chef of the Year Award, sponsored by BaxterStorey Ltd

The Lifetime Excellence Award, sponsored by Braehead Foods

Full details of the criteria, judging guidelines and electronic entry/nomination forms are available here, where you can also find sponsor profiles, event photography, biographies of the advisory board members, dinner booking forms and a video link to last year’s event.

This year’s ceremony takes place on Thursday 29th May 2014 at the Hilton Glasgow, and promises to be the biggest and most entertaining night since the first event back in 2004.

If you have any queries or need further information in the meantime, please do get in touch prior to the nominations closing date of Monday 10th March.

May we take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your participation, and wish you the best of luck with your entries and nominations.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Buchanan

On behalf of the CIS Excellence Awards organising committee

19% jump in jobseeker visits to indicates hospitality candidates are on the move

In January alone, leading hospitality job board received 1.6 million visits to the site; an increase from 1.2 million for the same month in 2013. For hospitality employers, this can only mean one thing – the battle for talent is getting tougher than ever.

At a recent event, almost 100 hospitality employers from all sectors gathered to look ahead together at 2014. As guests enjoyed the free flowing Prosecco and canapés at little Italy in Soho, talk turned to the successes of the past year and the plans that employers are making to adjust recruitment strategies as the economic recovery continues.  One point that everyone appeared to agree on was that as the market picks up, the job market will begin to move in earnest and employers will find it harder still to attract and hold on to top talent.

Neil Pattison, Sales Director of commented:

“2014 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the hospitality sector. There are already strong signs of market recovery and this is having an impact on the movement of candidates in the sector.  In January alone, had 1.6 million visits to the site; an increase from 1.2 million for the same month in 2013. This increase in candidate activity is only the start and is already having an impact on the recruitment strategies of our clients.”

For HR professionals in particular, the focus is now on managing robust recruitment and retention strategies that keep ahead of candidate movement. supports employers in doing this, helping them deliver on their recruitment strategies through effective products and by offering them free and insightful trends reports, research and events. This support assists employers as they work to be employers of choice in the industry.

Being an employer of choice is essential as the challenge to attract and retain the best talent intensifies.’s well established and free to enter Best Employers in Hospitality Awards offer a respected badge of honour for hospitality employers and a place in the shortlist or a category win will be a valuable part of their recruitment armoury. The awards, now in their fourth successful year, are judged by employee responses via a bespoke online survey, provided by employee engagement experts People Insight U. The awards will be open for entries from the end of March and the awards ceremony will take place at Lancaster London on Monday 29th September.

There seems to be no doubt that hospitality HR professionals are set for a busy year ahead and will therefore welcome support in developing their own skills and talents. Industry group HR in hospitality are an organisation designed specifically for this purpose, and are pleased to support them, recently sponsoring the £2,500 HR in Hospitality Career Development Scholarship which was awarded to Natalie Wild HR Manager at Hollins Hall Marriott, Hotel & Country Club. Natalie attended the recent drinks event and spoke alongside Neil Pattison, Sales Director of, on what the award means to her:

“I am very proud to have won the scholarship. It is a fantastic opportunity to support my own personal development whilst doing a job I thoroughly enjoy. I have decided to use the £2,500 scholarship to undertake a top up MA in Human Resources Management will base my research paper on a project that I am working on with Marriott and to raise awareness of Culinary Talent to young people in the hospitality industry and continue the thread of the work I already do.  I would also like to take the opportunity to thank and HR in Hospitality for the award and would encourage others to be nominated for this personal recognition.”

Be a hero- A post by Hamish Stoddart, Co-Founder, Peach Pub Company

Corporate social responsibility initiatives have known links to team engagement. Such activities might include offering time off to volunteer, fundraising or taking part in sponsored events. But at the Peach Pub Company, they are taking this concept a step further, with an ambitious conservation project on the northern border of the Maasai Mara.

The project was conceived seven years ago, when Peach pledged to plant 1,000 trees in Africa for every pub they opened. The Enonkishu Conservancy is under threat from over-farming, with thousands of acres of big game habitat being lost each year. The Last Line of Defence project, fronted by Peach co-founder Hamish Stoddart, aims to restore lost forest while supporting sustainable faming projects. By May, their goal is to have planted 20,000 trees.

It’s an audacious target, but for Hamish, it’s a cause close to his heart. “Africa and in particular the Maasai Mara are both passions of mine, and whilst we do lots close to home to support good causes, we chose the Last Line of Defence and the Enonkishu Conservancy as our priorities this year,” he said.  “In the last few years, the change in the environment and land use has accelerated even more and we now need to take real action to preserve the last great land migration in the world.”

But there is another cause equally close to his heart, and that is his people. In January, 10 of the Peach team journeyed out to the Maasai Mara to complete the latest leg of the project. Sleeping under the stars, playing football with the locals and game-spotting: this was the trip of a lifetime. It was a chance for the company to reward good performance, encourage team work and increase engagement.

Peach Pubs also runs a ‘Peach Heroes’ scheme, which rewards those who have done something exceptional in their work. This culture of rewarding and incentivising good performance has contributed to the company winning a Best Employers in Hospitality award for the third year in a row.

Hamish said, “We are always looking for great people to join our team. If you’re a great caterer and up for an exciting challenge, we’d be keen to hear from you.

“At Peach we believe in helping communities make a difference –
that means both the communities around our pubs and those in Africa. Though we can only do a little something to help, we are all keen to make that difference. Just take a look here to find out more about what we are doing.”

Click here if you want a slice of the Peach action!


Time is ticking…says Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association…the time for action is now

May 7th 2015 may seem a long way off but the reality is this; in campaigning and lobbying terms, the countdown has begun towards the next general election.  By the time of our Hospitality & Tourism Summit in June 2014, each of the key political parties be making the finishing touches to their manifesto.

Hospitality and tourism was not featured in any of the manifestos at the last general election.  Now, though, we have a shot at inclusion.

Thanks to key BHA-led initiatives like the Olympics and led by the BHA, key initiatives such as the Olympics and the Big Hospitality Conversation – an initiative which demonstrates our industry’s passion and commitment for helping to tackle youth unemployment across every region of the UK and firmly setting our industry on the UK plc’s agenda for growth – our political capital has never been higher.

Our mission is to ensure that the UK hospitality and tourism industry receives recognition as best in the world.  To help us achieve this it is vital that we continue to focus on recruiting and growing the best talent, capitalising and building on the successes of the Big Hospitality Conversation.

Over the past three years our industry profile has grown thanks to the efforts of the industry. 2014, too, has got off to a fast pace.  Despite all this, the hospitality and tourism industry now have just four short months to make a significant impact.

First and foremost we need to work as one; pooling our expertise, resources and ideas to future-proof our industry.  Embracing and capitalising on innovation and technology will support this mission and the young people who form the backbone of our industry will be key to this process.

Over the coming months our mission will and must be to make our goals a reality.  We have a unique and unprecedented opportunity to make our voice heard.  We must take action now…

  • Inspire the next generation:  join the Big Hospitality Conversation, the biggest job creation drive the industry has ever known – and work with us to achieve the ambitious target of creating 300,000 new jobs by 2020
  • Continue to work collectively and as one voice:  one fine example of action-in-progress is the Campaign for Tourism.  This industry-led and politically-motivated campaign aims to ensure tourism is positively referenced in the campaign manifestos of all three political parties for the general election.  The Campaign for Tourism is supported by many of the 250,000 tourism businesses across the UK, with the BHA at the forefront.  If you haven’t already, sign up now!
  • Adopt your MP:  lobby your local MP; encourage them to find out more about our industry by spending a day with you and your workforce

Time is ticking and the time for action is now.  This is a key moment for the hospitality and tourism industry.  By working collectively and making our collective voice heard, we have the opportunity to make a difference not only for now, but for future generations Best Employers in Hospitality 2014

Established. Respected. Free

We are delighted to announce that the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards will be open for entries from the first week of April 2014.

The Best Employers in Hospitality Awards, now in their fourth successful year, are the only established and recognised employer awards in the hospitality industry and are free to enter.

Respected by hospitality employers and employees as a truly credible mark of a great employer in the industry, the awards have grown each year to involve hundreds of employers and thousands of employees annually. The awards represent great employers from all sectors and are judged only on the views of their employees. Entry is free and simple via an online employee engagement survey and each employer who completes their entry will receive a free engagement report giving details of their employee responses across a range of key engagement areas.

The Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2014 results include a Top 50 Best Employers in Hospitality ranking and a series of category winners, recognising not just the best employer overall but the best in each sector and in each employer grouping too. This makes these awards genuinely representative of the industry as a whole and acknowledges the full range of best employers within it.

This year we have stepped up the quality even further by partnering with respected employee engagement experts People Insight, who have developed a wonderfully agile, relevant and impactful employee survey for the Best Employers in Hospitality Awards 2014. This new, bespoke survey contains refined questioning which gains deep, detailed insight into your employee engagement levels and at the same time keeps the survey short and simple to complete. A bonus for any employer, especially those with a large number of employees to survey! We are delighted that People Insight’s involvement with the awards has led to a far more accessible and meaningful entry process for employers and employees alike.

People Insight come with great provenance in the sector and count an impressive list of industry employers amongst their clients, including Marston’s Inns & Taverns, Itsu, Firmdale Hotels Group, Virgin Active, Pitcher & Piano and LivingWell Health Clubs.

Tom Debenham, Managing Director of People Insight said of their involvement “We know that the best employers in any sector are the ones that engage their staff, develop their potential, and motivate them to give of their best. Nowhere is this more important than in the hospitality sector, where employee skills, attentiveness and attitude are so central to the customer experience.”

“People Insight are therefore delighted to support the Best Employers in Hospitality 2014, help showcase great hospitality employers in terms of their approach to engaging their people, and provide useful case studies and inspiration for others.”

Are you a best employer in hospitality? Make sure you enter and find out! Look out for announcements here in the group as we move towards launch.

If you have any questions please contact

Follow us on Twitter and join in the conversation #BestEmployers2014

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